Project would fix up temporary housing units for veterans
SEASIDE, Calif. —The Seaside City Council decided to contribute $35,000 to the Veterans Transition Center so that it can repair six empty houses on the former Fort Ord.
“I really do need affordable housing,” Vietnam-era veteran William Pierce said.
Pierce is coming up on the end of his stay in temporary housing at the Veterans Transition Center, so moving into one of the soon-to-be renovated former Army homes would be a blessing in the nick of time.
“That would be great. It would be an ideal fit for me if I could get in there,” Pierce said.
Pierce said when he came home from active duty, he struggled with alcohol abuse and ended up in prison. Now that he’s out and has turned his life around, no landlords are willing to take him.
“There are reluctant landlords, because I have a past that includes prison (and) don’t have a rental history,” Pierce said.
It’s been a struggle that Veterans Transition Center Executive Director Terry Bare has seen with many of his veterans in recovery. The firsthand obstacles that Bare has seen has been his motivation behind pushing to get those vacant homes on the former Fort Ord up and running again.
“The affordable housing is a critical part to this, to have a place to go, a landing place, so that they can keep moving forward with the progress in their life,” Bare said.
Bare estimated the repairs will cost between $5,000 and $6,000, the majority of that going to fix the walls, the floors and the ventilation systems.
The rent will stay at a fixed rate for veterans, making sure to keep the cost low. The Veterans Transition Center counselors will make recommendations, so for veterans like Pierce, it’s a waiting game.
“To be in this neighborhood in this part of the peninsula would be great for me,” Pierce said. “It would make me feel just ecstatic, I would just be overwhelmed and bubbling.”
Bare expects to finish the repairs to those homes within three to four months, so they could see veterans moving in by then.
The project is a pilot program; if things go well for the first six homes they hope to do the same thing with other empty homes on the former Fort Ord.